Frigga, the All-Mother (Oil Painting)
Just in time for Yule I’ve finished my latest painting in my Norse Mythology series, Frigga the All-Mother. I’ve been working on this piece for quite a while. I actually sketched out the idea back in January of 2013, and did a photo shoot with my friend Renee, who modeled for Frigga, in March of 2013. I finally got around to finishing the drawing for Frigga in June of 2014. I made a POST HERE. Now almost 2 years later I have finished the final painting!
Frigga is a fascinating figure to me. Unfortunately there is very little specifically mentioned in the primary sources on Norse Myth. For that reason I found my self digging deeper drawing from research into later Germanic goddess and female folk figures. I feel the need to offer some explanation as to the choices I made and why I made them.
The first is Frigga’s full figure. It’s been suggested that her bust might be more appropriate to the lusty goddess Freya. However upon further research it becomes clear that Frigga was also a beautiful goddess who cultivated sexual relationships outside our modern understanding of marriage. In addition to that I wanted her to look like a woman who had many children, still beautiful but no wispy young thing.
The second point is Frigga’s crown of candles. This will call to mind Saint Lucia for some. I put forth the concept that the crown of candles is yet another pagan tradition assimilated by the Catholic Church. I wanted to feature a crown that conjured the idea of Frigga’s role as Queen of Asguard and borrow the idea from a later Germanic goddess Frau Holle, who is Queen of Winter. So here I have Frigga in her role as Winter Queen.
Also calling attention to her winter role I’ve included a sprig of mistletoe hanging from her seat. It is unclear exactly what the importance of mistletoe was to Frigga, but one story is that it would be placed over a threshold of a place where peace was to be kept. It also has a connection to Frigga in the story of Baulder and his demise. I personally love the idea of bringing in mistletoe during Yule as a symbol of family peace.
The primary sources do not say Frigga is a weaver, but a large number of later Germanic goddess are. Due to the important role weaving played and the fact that the female head of the house coordinated the efforts of the ladies to produce the households cloth, I decided to depict Frigga as a weaver of the cosmos.
The children in the background represent the souls of those who die too young. Perchta is another later Germanic goddess, and the legend says she tends to the souls of the children. Similarly in Frigga’s role as All-Mother I see this as a strong connection for her.
Finally what is specifically known of Frigga is that she sat upon her own throne in Asguard, she was the Keeper of the Keys, and possessed the knowledge of all the secrets of the world, but told none.
As we approach the Yule season I am reminded that the first night of Yule, Dec. 20th, is Mother’s Night. I hope that the All-Mother inspires all to remember the women of their own family both in this world and the next.
Hail the Children!
Hail the Mothers!
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